We are seeing frequent reports in the news media about Greek antiquity theft. There are at least two reasons, I believe. One, it is trendy topic because of the hoopla about the Elgin marbles and two, the police have received increased funding for this area.
This recent report is typical and just the tip of the iceberg in my opinion as anyone who has been in Greece more than a couple years, including the natives, will have picked up something ancient.
An 81-year-old man yesterday faced a prosecutor on antiquities theft charges after police seized more than 450 ancient artifacts from his home on Alexandras Avenue in central Athens.
The cache, which included objects dating from Neolithic times to the Byzantine era, is one of the largest and most valuable collections of illegal artifacts to be discovered in years, officers from Attica’s antiquities theft unit said. The collection reportedly included objects made of marble, bronze and clay as well as coins and icons.
“Archaeologists who have examined most of (the artifacts) are convinced they were illegally excavated,” Reuters cited a police official as saying.
The man allegedly told police that the artifacts were family heirlooms.
Just last month we took some guests to the ancient quarries for the Parian marble from which many famous statues are carved. I picked up a small hunk of white marble and held it to the sun. They were amazed at the light that shone through; so, of course, they had to have pieces to take home. Airport security gave them no grief, I am happy to report.
I should also report, however, that just last year an American girl spent the night in jail for putting a stone from a field at the Acropolis into her day pack.
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- At October 24, 2006 2:33 PM Sameer said...
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